McDonald's study offers fresh insights into Mann's Joseph tetralogy in two ways. Beginning with Mann's well documented love for public performance, he rereads the Joseph vels as a script, showing how performance figures prominently in the form as well as the substance of the narrative. Then he interprets several of the essay-lectures composed during the Joseph years (1926-1943), emphasizing their performative qualities and their conscious (and subliminal) interweavings with the vel. Mann's passionate re-enactment of Kleist's play Amphitryon in his 1927 lecture provided a model of identity that he developed fully in Joseph. The model also helped him contain the more pessimistic account of identity he encountered in Freud. The Freud lectures of 1929 and 1936 develop psychoanalysis as an Enlightenment project useful in combating the irrationalism of the Nazis, and carefully control its darker aspects.